Bass are really starting to bite in the state. Anglers should be targeting shallow water as largemouth bass are moving from the pre-spawn into the spawning phase.
Several lake record largemouths have been caught in recent weeks, including a 12.1-pound hawg landed Wednesday by Ardmore pro angler Jeff Kriet off a spawning bed on Lake Murray. Kriet released the fish.
A lake record also was set on Sardis. Mark Wiles of Shady Point caught an 11.8-pound largemouth on March 30 in a weed bed using a handmade Chatter style bait. He also released the fish.
On Easter Sunday, Wesley Burns of Gracemont caught an 8.8-pound largemouth on a spinner that is the new lake record for Fort Cobb.
The boat ramps at Draper Lake are closed due to low water and will remain closed until about August 2012, Oklahoma City officials announced Wednesday.
In a news release, city officials said the low water level on Draper Lake makes it unsafe for boating.
The water level is low because of a project to repair the Atoka Pipeline’s six pumping stations. Draper Lake’s water supply is pumped from Atoka Lake in southeastern Oklahoma via the 110-mile Atoka pipeline, and the repairs are lowering the lake.
The Atoka Pump Station Rehabilitation Project began early 2009 and is expected to take two years to complete. The project requires the pipeline to be shut down periodically, which will cause the lake’s water level to fluctuate throughout the project.
“The low lake levels will have no impact to the city’s ability to meet its drinking water demands,” said Marsha Slaughter, director of the city’s Utilities Department. “Unfortunately, the project will impact recreational activities.”
Boat stall renters removed their boats from Draper Lake last September.
Slaughter said the city regrets the inconvenience to citizens but the rehabilitation project is essential for the continuing safe and reliable delivery of water to Draper Lake and ultimately to Oklahoma City homes and businesses.
The low lake levels will give the city an opportunity to improve the lake, such as cleaning debris from the lakebed, extending boat ramps and removing the two boat docks.
Last spring, one of the three wet stall docks was damaged beyond repair by a tornado and removed from the lake. The remaining two docks will be removed while lake levels are low.
Plans are to replace all three docks after completion of the Atoka Pump Station Rehabilitation Project and lake levels stabilize.
The paddlefish are running and the crappie are biting.
Crappie are spawning on Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma’s most popular crappie hole. On the south side of the lake, crappie are on the bank . “They are sacking them up in all of the creeks,” said Gary Griffin, owner of the Lakeview Grocery Store on Lake Eufaula. “Now is the time to go.”
Another good crappie lake is Lake Thunderbird near Norman where a lake record slab was caught on Saturday.
Jereme Fortune of Moore caught a 2.9-pound crappie while slip-corking in the Twin Bridges area. The Denver Corner Pantry serves as the lake record keeper for Thunderbird
In northeastern Oklahoma, the paddlefishing is nearing its peak.
“It’s prime,” said Keith Green of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. “We’ve probably got about two weeks of really good fishing. It’s as prime as it is going to get in the next two weeks.”
The paddlefish are in the river systems six miles either direction of Twin Bridges State Park on Grand Lake, where the Wildlife Department has its cleaning and processing station, Green said.
Anglers with boats have been snagging them with success but the Neosho River through Riverview City Park in Miami has been too low for bank fishing, Green said.
After the next big rain on the Neosho River 100 miles upstream in Kansas, it will be a great time to fish in the public park from the bank, he said.
The biggest paddlefish checked in this spring at Twin Bridges has been 68.9 pounds.
Anglers can call the processing center at Twin Bridges (918-542-9422) to get a paddlefish report. The center is closed on Fridays and Mondays as those are catch and release days only for paddlefish. The daily limit is one the rest of the week.
State wildlife commissioners voted Monday to expand doe hunting in Oklahoma.
The antlerless only gun hunting deer seasons in December will be lengthened from six days to 10 days.
Antlerless only gun hunting has been allowed for two consecutive three-day weekends in December.
This year, a 10-day antlerless gun season for most of the state will run from Dec. 17 through Dec. 26. That season will still be closed in the Panhandle and most of southeast Oklahoma.
No other changes were made Monday to the deer seasons.
In other action, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission also changed the antler points restriction for bull elk hunting on private land.
Before, a bull elk had to have at least six points on one side before it could be legally harvested. Commissioners voted Monday to change that restriction to five points. More cow elk hunting days were added in the Slick Hills area in southwest Oklahoma.